How to keep your hydrangeas blooming for ‘longer’ – ‘produces excellent results!’

How to keep your hydrangeas blooming for ‘longer’ – ‘produces excellent results!’

08/13/2022

Gardeners’ World: Monty Don on growing hydrangeas

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Hydrangeas can be picky plants, which makes perfect blooms a never-ending challenge. The only thing that can be more disappointing than hydrangeas not blooming at all, is a poor showing. Sometimes hydrangea flowers will come in smaller, or shrubs may only have a few blossoms instead of being covered in beautiful blooms. There are even times when your flowers just seem washed out.

Jill Drago, gardening expert at All About Gardening said: “If you follow these above tips your hydrangeas will showcase their amazing brighter blooms all season for longer.”

When looking to boost hydrangea blooms it can seem tempting to fertilise the plants, unfortunately, fertilising blindly can cause damage 

The expert suggested carrying out an “easy-to-do” soil test to tell exactly what nutrients the soil may or may not be lacking. 

Hydrangeas don’t require anything too extensive once they are established when it comes to feedings. 

Jill explained: “The best way to fertilise your hydrangea is to use manure or compost around the base of the plant. 

“Not only does this produce excellent results, but it will improve the conditions of your soil over time.

“All flowering plants need phosphorus to produce their best blooms. 

“Choosing a fertiliser that is labeled for flowering shrubs and trees will be your best bet. You can find these fertilisers in a slow release formula.”

Gardeners are warned against fertilising their hydrangeas after August as the plants are already preparing to go dormant. This could damage your flowers for the next year.

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Giving hydrangeas enough space when planting them is also key to these plants blooming longer.

While it can be really tempting to plant hydrangeas close together so they will fill in garden spaces quicker, this can be detrimental to the overall health of the plant, including the blooms.

The gardening pro said: “The main issue that arises when you plant too closely together is the lack of airflow that the plants will receive. 

“If your plant doesn’t have enough breathing room, fungal diseases will begin to creep up and begin to damage your plant.

“Flower buds and flowers themselves are not immune to fungal disease, in fact these types of disease can greatly discolour your flowers and cause them to be stunted.”

Gardeners who have established hydrangea plants that you believe are too close together there are a few things you can do to alleviate the above issues.

Hydrangeas are well known for being water lovers. 

Jill warned: “If they are not receiving enough water this will cause the plant to stress and go into survival mode, focusing on root production, and leaf production. Those two systems are what keep the plant alive. 

“Producing flowers takes a lot of energy from the plant, and while flowers do attract pollinators, they are not necessary to the survival of hydrangeas.”

It is easy to spot hydrangea blossoms that are in need of water. The petals will begin to fade, and lose their luster. 

Another way to spot a hydrangea that can use a drink is by checking out the leaves. Their leaves will droop down towards the ground.

A “great way” to ensure that hydrangeas will be the “biggest and brightest” they can be is to be sure gardeners are pruning them correctly, according to the expert.

This can get tricky, but it will be worth it when you see the robust blooms taking over your garden for a longer period of time. 

Jill said: “To get started, the most important thing you need to know is that there are two ways that hydrangeas bloom: new wood, and old wood.

“If you are working with a new wood bloomer you really can’t go wrong, but it is best to prune in autumn after blooming has finished.

“The old wood species don’t typically require a lot of pruning. They are at their best when they are left to grow freely, and pruned only for containment and to remove winter-kill.”

These hydrangeas typically need pruning from April to June. 

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